Alexander vows return after Everything Everywhere exit


Time was right to draw a line in the sand says Alexander as he pays tribute to successful Orange and T-Mobile turn around

Outgoing Everything Everywhere (EE) chief executive Tom Alexander says he will be back in the mobile space at some point in the future, but maintained this will not be with another network.

Speaking to Mobile News hours after he announced he would step down, Alexander (pictured right) said that after a number of achievements at the operator he felt the time was right to “draw a line in the sand”.

Alexander who has been a name synonymous with the mobile sector for many years – most notably heading up Virgin Mobile before taking the reigns at Orange and then EE – said the joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile had been one of his most significant achievements to date.

“Orange is such an iconic brand, so bringing that back and being part of that after working with the Virgin brand was great,” Alexander said.

“I think then putting together the merger of T-Mobile and Orange and then over the last few months against the back drop of a very tough economic climate, I have bought back the T-Mobile brand which has been trading better than it has, in many KPI’s point of view, better than it ever has before.

“Against this backdrop, Orange and T-Mobile both have record levels of churn – having really loyal customers with backdrop of lots of change and integration has led to me conclude that now is the time to draw a perfect line in the sand.”

Alexander, who will remain as CEO until the end of August when he will be replaced by current France Telecom executive vice president, operations in Europe (except France) Olaf Swantee (pictured left) and at EE until the end of the year as part of the change over period, said he was leaving the company in the midst of one of the mobile industry’s most exciting periods.

He said ongoing developments in regards to spectrum auctions for LTE technology as well the advancement of mobile money products would allow EE to move forward.

“The spectrum auctions are just one of many exciting things happening at the moment,” Alexander said.

“Some of the things we are starting – like quick tap mobile payments and the relationship I have put together with Everything Everywhere and Barclaycard in the area of mobile commerce is the birth of something that I think is very significant for both this business and the industry.

Alexander joked that he “would consider offers”, but said his immediate focus was to spend more time with his family.

“A lot of people say they want to spend more time with their family but I feel I am in a position where I can do that,”Alexander said.

“I won’t say I won’t be back – the mobile industry is in my blood and I’m sure I’ll still be involved in some shape or form.”

New man at the top

The man who will replace Alexander – Olaf Swantee says his main aim when he takes charge will be do keep down customer churn and drive up customer loyalty.

“Both Tom and I have both turned around the Orange UK business and I have been a non executive director on the Everything Everywhere board so I’m familiar with the UK strategy,” Swantee said.

“I will absolutely continue on Tom’s success of reducing churn. I believe the growth in the future for our business has to come predominantly from our existing customers.

“I will spend a lot of time trying to put in place or accelerate the plans in regards to building customer loyalty and trying to become number one in customer loyalty across the market.”